Sport Golf

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Mickelson keen to soothe Open pain at scene of 2005 triumph

Mickelson carded a flawless 65 in the final round at Royal Troon to finish 17 under par, missing out to Henrik Stenson in the final standings. Picture Credit: PA
Mickelson carded a flawless 65 in the final round at Royal Troon to finish 17 under par, missing out to Henrik Stenson in the final standings. Picture Credit: PA

Phil Casey

Phil Mickelson will look to put the heartache of missing out on a second Open title behind him at the scene of his vital second Major victory this week.

Mickelson carded a flawless 65 in the final round at Royal Troon to finish 17 under par, a total which would have won or forced a play-off in 141 of the 145 Open Championships staged to date.

However, the 46-year-old was denied a sixth Major title by a stunning performance from Henrik Stenson, whose closing 63 equalled the lowest score recorded in any Major - Mickelson having done so as well in the first round - and gave him a winning total of 264, the lowest in Major history.

Fortunately for Mickelson, golf's return to the Olympics for the first time since 1904 has resulted in a compressed schedule, with just one week between the Open and US PGA Championship, which the left-hander won the last time it was staged at Baltusrol in 2005, to add to his 2004 Masters triumph.

Cherish

"That was really a fun week," Mickelson said. "That was something I cherish.

"That was an important one because I always felt like once I won one Major I was going to win multiple times. I needed to get that second one and got it fairly soon, a year and a half later."

Mickelson has been paired with defending champion Jason Day and two-time winner Rory McIlroy for the first two rounds, while the tradition of having the winners of the year's first three Majors - Danny Willett, Dustin Johnson and Stenson - in the same group has been maintained.

Masters champion Willett warmed up for the final Major of the year by throwing the first pitch at a New York Yankees game on Sunday and hopes the set up at Baltusrol will help him rediscover his top form.

"Out of all the Majors, the US PGA is usually the fairest because the weather doesn't usually play a massive factor," said Willett, who snapped his Masters-winning putter in frustration during the US Open and finished 53rd in the Open.

"The course set up isn't ridiculously penal like a US Open. The scoring is usually pretty decent."

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